The Cardinals traded up in the second round to select TCU linebacker Daryl Washington.
Karlos Dansby has been a player Daryl Washington liked to watch – an aggressive linebacker after whom Washington could pattern his game.
So maybe it's a bit of fate that Washington was drafted in the second round by the Cardinals Friday, specifically to fill the weak inside linebacker role Dansby left when he signed with Miami as a free agent last month.
"For me to replace him, it's big shoes to fill, but I am going to get in there and work as hard as I can and be a better player than him or be as good as him," Washington said on a conference call. "I have much respect for Karlos Dansby. I am looking forward to putting on the uniform and getting to work."
The Cardinals believe Washington is capable. They believed it enough to surrender one of their two third-round picks in a trade with the Patriots to move up 11 spot, swapping picks in the second round for the Texas Christian product.
Listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Washington said he'll weigh 235 when he reports to minicamp next week without sacrificing speed – the speed that drew the Cards in to covet him.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Washington was rated 12th on the team's draft board, one spot behind first-round pick Dan Williams. He also said Washington was considered in the first round.
As the second round progressed and Washington remained available, the Cards realized he likely wouldn't last much longer. With the Patriots holding three second-round choices, they were a realistic trading partner. With Washington's abilities, a trade was all but obvious.
"We felt it was the right decision," general manager Rod Graves said. "We didn't think he'd be there when we selected at our original position. (A third-rounder) was what it was going to take.
"We didn't debate it too long because we knew the quality of the player we were going after."
Whisenhunt said an "NFC team" even called the Cards after the pick to let them know Washington would have been the choice had the Cards not made the trade.
The Cards were supposed to meet with Washington at the scouting combine, but scheduling conflicts forced Washington to miss it, and he visited Tempe in the weeks leading up to the draft. That just solidified the Cards' feelings on him.
Washington had 109 tackles in 13 games for college's top-ranked defense. He also had three interceptions, 11 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks – Dansby-type stats.
"Karlos Dansby, we definitely have some similarities in the way we play," Washington said. "He is bigger, but as far as athleticism and football IQ and passion for the game, I think I will fit right in and make some noise."
Whisenhunt said they hoped Washington would eventually blossom into an every-down linebacker, emphasizing the rookie's speed and playmaking potential.
It sounded a lot like the way Whisenhunt would talk about the now-departed Dansby.
"In losing a player like Karlos Dansby who did a lot of things for us on the field," Whisenhunt said, "we feel we have addressed that with a young guy who we feel can do a lot of similar things."
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